Giftings & Growth

Listen here!

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. - 1 Corinthians 12:4‭-‬7 As I sit thinking about how the church functions and how She's to mature over time, God has really laid on my heart what I believe to be a legitamte problem and its multifaceted solution. Disclaimer: I'm far from the first person to identify this problem, I probably won't be the last and I don't claim to have all of the answers pertaining to the solution. The Problem: Most of God's people are not using or are not allowed to use their individual Spiritual gifts and the body is suffering accordingly. There are many reasons for this which I will explain as we go. The Solution: Intentionally turning from a system that marginalizes all but a few gifts. We can do this by encouraging people to use the gifts God has plainly manifest in them and as leaders by allowing space for our program to get messy as things change. In this I do not mean the sacrifice of biblical church authority or the clear declaration of order in our times of worship. I simply mean that growing up is often messy and that our programs should better serve God. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul communicates that we are all individual parts of one larger body. He stresses that as such we need each other, just as the eye needs the ear, and the ear needs the mouth. This parallel, in direct relation to Paul's teaching on Spiritual gifts, shows that we need every gift within each local church to be used per Gods design and for His will. We also know Gods stated purpose for all of these gifts, Paul declares that they are for the "common good." (1 Cor 12:7) However, in the church today it appears as though we only use certain gifts for the common good. Teaching, worship, administration to name the biggies. And if we parallel this to Paul's teaching, what is happening is that the mouth, the feet and maybe one other part are always in operation but never the others. We apparently don't need the other pieces of our body or at least that's what we communicate by our program. Sadly at the root of this is unbelief. We don't believe what God says, that those other gifts are also for our common good. So what are some of the reasons why people don't use the gifts they have? Let me interject first by saying 1. every gift that is given, is given as the Lord wills not man! And 2. there is a major difference between something you are naturally good at (a talent) and the gifts that God gives for the common good of His church. (More on this at a later date) In light of that, the first reason people might not use their gift(s) is because they don't understand what Spiritual gifts are. It's also worth noting that people often dont know how or why gifts are to be used. This does not just fall on the "lay person" either. Far too many pastors are ignorant or afraid of what the scripture teaches about spiritual gifts and their application. One solution here is better and more thorough teaching coupled with a dash of faith. The second reason people might not use their spiritual gift is tradition. The church for far too long has operated only using a few gifts thus the people who attend think "it's always been this way, it will never change." The problem, far too many Christians wither on the vine as one might say because they're never able to use what God has given them. The solution is a bit of a reformation. I'm a bit of an iconoclast myself in that I don't mind blowing up long held traditions if they don't make any sense or have no biblical foundation. We should all be willing to toss tradition if it is not biblically based. Solution: talk to your pastor about the gift that you have and how it can be used. If he ignores you keep persisting! The third reason, as I see it, for people not using their Spiritual gifts is that much of church leadership today won't allow it. Inside of this are several motivations. Pride, fear, being a slave to tradition themselves and the list could go on. We have a church system that is set up to promote the very thing the Bible declared to be evil. Namely the exaltation of any one man. In the third letter of John, John takes aim at a man named Diotrephes. The problem addressed is that this man "loves to be first" and did not accept the instruction of the elder (John). It also says that he wouldn't allow others to have influence. As I picture it he's the only gift being used in the church and he wants to keep it that way. John considered this evil, as we see in verse 11. But in today's church it seems the very model that we promote. Instead of a pastor equipping saints for works of service, we have a collection of saints that live their lives to fund a pastor so that he can do all of the stuff for them. We then sadly wonder why pastors are so unwilling to relinquish control, we gave it to them! Or were terribly put off when the pastor asks for help. The modern church proudly and ignoratly creates men like Diotrephes. We need a new mindset. We've been conditioned to think of a pastor as one who stands up in front of a crowd of people telling them in a lecture format a moralistic story from The Bible or a cultural diatribe. When in fact we have all experienced teachers who clearly held authority over us both in their wisdom and in their grace that did not lecture us but simply corrected our course as we attempted to navigate the problem. I would say that most of us like those teachers far more than we liked mere lecturers. Solution: We as pastors and leaders need to trust the Spirit of God more than we trust ourselves or our programs. We must lay down our pride and our need of the exaltation of men. We must abide deeply in the presence of Christ knowing that He loves us and has called us for the purpose of shepherding and equipping the saints to use their gifts for the common good as they fulfill the work of ministry. I'd love to know your thoughts so please comment in the comment section below or send an email to


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